21 July 2010

Why Were They Diamond Kings?

Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius: Show and Tell #54: They Were Diamond Kings?: "I received a bunch of Diamond Kings toward my project to collect all the DKs from 1982-1992 from Mike D. When I looked at some of the cards..."

Taking a cue from Matt, I thought it might be interesting to see how long it took Donruss to run through the "usual suspects" for each team when they were choosing Diamond Kings each year, and how many years it took them to repeat those star players when they ran out of ways to rationalize someone like Glenn Hubbard or John Cangelosi as a Diamond King. You know what I mean, every team in the 80s-90s had one or two players (rarely three) that you could point to as the franchise. But since the Diamond Kings weren't fan voted, you couldn't just have the same 26 guys in there every year like you could the All Star Game.

Take the Padres for instance. Now, the obvious player, of course, is Tony Gwynn. But since I'll just run thru all of San Diego's Diamond Kings from 1982-2001 and see what we get since they didn't tend to repeat guys in consecutive years.

1981 Dave Winfield (only in my imagination)
1982 Ozzie Smith (Top Padre gets the nod as he's walking out the door)
1983 Terry Kennedy (had a good 1982 season and Garvey had only just had a DK in 1982 for Los Angeles)
1984 Dave Dravecky (#3 starter but the best year on a lackluster staff, and Gwynn hadn't played a full season yet)
1985 Tony Gwynn (no surprise there)
1986 Goose Gossage (had a surprisingly good year, and they couldn't pick Tony again already)
1987 Kevin McReynolds (had a year good enough they didn't have to resort to Gwynn again, yet)
1988 Benito Santiago (1987 ROY!)
1989 Tony Gwynn (used up all their excuses and had to go with the team star)
1990 Ed Whitson (crap, we just used Tony, didn't we?)
1991 Roberto Alomar (despite having a below average year, but this actually could have gone to Joe Carter, Bip Roberts or even Ed Whitson again, who had a decent 1990)
1992 Fred McGriff
1993 Gary Sheffield
1994 Tony Gwynn (I guess they ran out of 1 year free agent signings, so it's back to Tony)
1995 Tony Gwynn (Well, he DID just hit .394 in an injury shortened season in '94, and it wasn't as if their pitching staff was setting the world on fire)
1996 Tony Gwynn (seriously? It could have been Ken Caminiti with a .302, 26HR, 94RBI season. This was just lazy)
1997 The set was cut to only 10 cards, and the Padres were out, despite Caminiti's 'roid fueled 40HR, 130RBI, .326BA season, he is snubbed for a second straight year.
1998 Tony Gwynn (seems any interest in spreading the love around is gone...Tony gets his 6th DK nod despite Trevor Hoffman's 37 saves, but in fairness, Tony hit .372 with 220 hits and 119 RBI)
1999-2000 I was out of the hobby at the time, but had no idea there were no Donruss sets in 1999 & 2000!
2001 Seems Donruss was making up for lost time and issued a couple of 1999-2000 retro sets, but the Padres didn't rate in either. However, Mr. Gwynn does make one more appearance in the 2001 set when the choice easily should have been Phil Nevin.

Overall, not the results I was expecting, and I'd forgotten how San Diego was picking up hired guns to fill the #4 hole every year for awhile there. Surprisied to see Joe Carter didn't pickup a Padre DK.


  1. there were no DK cards in 1981

  2. Oops, I think I had the Perez postcard in my mind when I included that! Definitely a missed opportunity at a retro set, though.